Sex can become less enjoyable and frustrating for some women because of vaginal dryness. Lack of lubrication can be painful and extremely uncomfortable and have a huge impact on sex life. Vaginal dryness can cause burning and painful intercourse. There are many possible causes of vaginal dryness ranging from physiological factors to psychological issues. But there are several ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort. Figuring out the cause of vaginal dryness is the first step in treating it. Lack of vaginal lubrication can be caused by a number of conditions:
Hormonal changes – decrease in oestrogen levels is the main cause of vaginal dryness. Oestrogen levels decrease during perimenopause, menopause, after childbirth, during breastfeeding and hysterectomy. Cancer treatment like chemotherapy and radiation also lead to low estrogen and vaginal dryness.
Medications – anti-oestrogen drugs used to treat myoma or endometriosis can reduce vaginal lubrication. Cold, allergy and anti-depressant medications have a drying effect on the body by decreasing moisture in different body parts.
Sjogren’s syndrome – is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue.
Douching – cleansing the vagina with a liquid preparation disrupts the normal chemical balance of the vagina and can cause vaginitis.
Lack of arousal before sexual intercourse – low libido or sexual problems may cause vaginal dryness.
Allergens – perfumes, dyes, perfumes, scented bath soap, lubricants or any objects that may be placed in the vagina can cause allergy and dryness.
Anxiety – emotional and psychological problems causes stress and anxiety that affect sexual desire.
Vaginal dryness can be painful and uncomfortable. No matter what the cause maybe we encourage you to be evaluated by a gynecologist. Gynecologist will do a pelvic exam; she will check your outer genitalia, cervix and rectum for any signs of disease. This exam will rule out the cause of your discomfort. The doctor may also do a Pap test to take a sample of cells from your cervix and vaginal wall. If you have urinary problem, you will be asked to provide a urine sample for testing.
The most common and effective treatment for vaginal dryness caused by low estrogen level in menopause is topical (vaginal) estrogen therapy. This replaces oestrogen the body is no longer making. This relieves dryness but doesn’t put as much oestrogen in the bloodstream as oral hormone therapy.
There are three types of vaginal oestrogen:
• Vaginal oestrogen tablet is put in the vagina with a disposable applicator.
• Vaginal oestrogen cream is directly inserted in the vagina with an applicator.
• Vaginal oestrogen ring a soft ring is inserted in the upper part of the vagina to release consistent dose of oestrogen.
In addition to vaginal oestrogen therapy, talk with your gynecologist about lubricants and moisturizers to remedy vaginal dryness.
Water-based lubricants can keep you lubricated for several hours. Natural lubricant like Sylk stimulates the body’s own lubrication and can be apply to penis or the vaginal opening before intercourse. Moisturizers imitate vaginal moisture and relieve vaginal dryness for up to three days in a single application.
Vaginal dryness is the most common sexual problem that women report during perimenopause and menopause. Can you still have a great sex life with vaginal dryness? If lack of lubrication is creating havoc with your sex life, your gynecologist can prescribe treatments to solve this. Every woman deserves a satisfied sex life. There are different ways to relieve vaginal dryness and make sex easier and more pleasant:
• Use natural water soluble lubricant liberally to make intercourse more comfortable.
• Keep yourself hydrated by drinking more than six glasses of water everyday.
• Avoid irritants like perfumes, dyes and some hygiene products that can irritate the delicate tissues of the vagina.
• Avoid douching this can disrupt the vagina’s natural chemical balance and can cause dryness.
• Vaginal estrogen therapy relieves dryness.
• Regular sex or masturbation helps vaginal tissues supple and moist.
• Longer foreplay before coitus helps to create lubrication and ease the discomfort.
• If vaginal dryness causes pain, indulge in outercourse like cuddling, sensual massage, genital stroking or watching erotica together.
If vaginal dryness affects your lifestyle particularly your sex life and relationship with your life partner, seek medical advice. Living with painful and uncomfortable vaginal dryness shouldn’t stop you from having a great sex life.